Students create memorial fund

Tom Weaver was just like any other GW student.

He rowed crew, was co-director of political affairs for the GW College Republicans, worked on John McCain’s presidential campaign, coached youth basketball and planned to join the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

It is this image of an energetic, fun-loving man that Weaver’s friends said they want to remember.

Weaver, 20, left GW in late 1999 before completing his sophomore year. He died July 1 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston of Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of cancer; but his friends said his memory will live on.

Friends of Weaver, a foundation formed by Weaver’s GW associates, established a memorial fund this semester to help find a cure for the disease, said Kelly Pearson, one of Weaver’s friends who is heading it up. Ewing’s Sarcoma typically strikes young adults between the ages of 10 and 20.

He probably would have done this for me, said Pearson, who is a GW senior. This is one way I can help find a cure. I’m not going to be a doctor so I can’t help in that way.

Organizers will hold a silent auction at GW in December to raise money for the For Our Friend: The Tom Weaver Memorial Fund. Part of the money will be donated to Massachusetts General Hospital, which sponsors a Ewing’s Sarcoma fund to help families coping with the disease.

This will keep his name alive at GW, said Cathy Resler, executive vice president of the Student Association, who is helping to raise money. He always wanted to come back here. He loved GW.

Organizers said they are confident Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will play a key role in the auction. Weaver was a field coordinator for McCain’s presidential campaign. Pearson said Weaver had a close relationship with the former candidate.

Pearson said they have also requested support from talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, Vice President Al Gore and local businesses.

Some prizes that may be auctioned off include lunch with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and a free health club membership.

Some of the proceeds from the auction will also be used to establish a $1,000 scholarship for GW students in Weaver’s name, Resler said. The scholarship may go to students with similar interests as Weaver or to cancer survivors, she said.

Pearson said she hopes the event will bring the GW community together.

Hopefully in the end, this will be a student community event, Pearson said. We want to make this as big as humanly possible.

The auction has already drawn support from the GW College Republicans, the GW College Democrats, Circle K, Lamda Chi Alpha and the Student Association.

A lot of people knew Tom, said Pratik Patel, Weaver’s best friend at GW. This is a way to celebrate his life.

Anyone who is interested in making a donation or helping with the auction should contact Kelly Pearson at kpearson@gwu.edu.

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